Continental Breakfast and the Pandemic: What’s Changed?

woman having breakfast

The COVID-19 pandemic has various factors in our lives, from how we live to the way we travel. For avid travelers, they know that breakfast buffets are the staple in most, if not all, hotels. The wide spreads of fresh fruit, bread, pancakes, waffles, and other breakfast foods that you might find at your favorite European breakfast cafe are something that travelers often look forward to at the start of the day.

However, the pandemic continues to make waves across the globe. Because of this situation, hotels have to reconsider the traditional all-you-can-eat breakfast to accommodate the new health standards and ensure the safety of their customers.

With the industry not likely to fully recover from its losses until 2024, hoteliers use this adjustment time to reshape their business. This also allows them to find innovative ways to provide customers with better service, including their first meal of the day, while practicing the proper health and safety standards. With self-service no longer an option, here’s how hotels are providing breakfast options to customers in the post-pandemic era.

Grab & Go

While other places are going contactless, some hotels provide a quick and easy way for customers to get their first meal of the day. Hotels like Best Western and the Hilton offer a grab-and-go option- a light meal that includes pastries, fruit, yogurt, granola bars, and sandwiches that people can take from the breakfast area and bring with them up to their rooms or out the hotel.

However, as previously suspended breakfast services are starting to open up again, hotels are moving to a wider variety of options that includes hot food.

woman eating

Al Fresco Dining

While many people may think that the health and safety regulations put in place during this time may spell the end of a good hotel breakfast, that’s not necessarily true. Despite it being more difficult to help customers avoid congregated areas during their meals, hotels are rising to the challenge.

Made-to-order meals are served in outdoor spaces and alfresco areas to accommodate those who would like to have their morning meals outside of their room. This has become an option in many hotels across the country as a replacement for breakfast buffets, allowing for a safer dining experience.

Some hotels also offer pre-plated meals prepared beforehand, allowing guests to choose between set meals prepared by the hotel.

Besides the food options, more hotels are using digital menus to reduce the number of face-to-face interactions between hotel staff and customers. By doing this, hotels can not only ensure the safety and protection of their workers and guests but also fulfill the guests’ needs for a hot and well-prepared meal.

In-room Meals

To avoid guests from congregating in the dining hall, hotels are bringing the restaurant to the guests by incorporating breakfast menus with room service, allowing guests to order from digital tablets, and hotel staff delivering the meals in the form of breakfast bags or breakfast trays left outside the room. While it may take some logistics organization to ensure a streamlined service that can cater to guests in the dining hall and their rooms, having the digital tablets can make the process easier and allows guests to have a completely contact-free breakfast experience from the safety of their rooms.

The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has left the hospitality industry reeling, and it isn’t likely that things will get better any time soon. With people still anxious about the virus, and numerous health and safety regulations to keep in mind, some might not find it worth the hassle to travel for the time being. And while this doesn’t spell good news for hotels across the globe, we’re likely to see how hotels find a more innovative and efficient way to provide hot and quality meals to guests while keeping their health and safety in mind.

With mass vaccination taking place in numerous countries around the world, there’s a small hope that hotels and other businesses in the industry can get back up on their feet. Many things have changed, and people are more cautious about meeting people and going to different places. The transition to the new normal won’t be easy.

But as long as the virus continues to make its mark on the world, nobody knows what exactly the future holds for the hospitality industry. There could still be significant changes that can make or break the sector. One thing is for sure, though. It isn’t likely that we’ll be seeing full-service breakfast buffets anytime soon.

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